Wednesday, September 30, 2009

There's a lot of trash in our backyard, right by the fence between our building and the building next door where all the terrible children in the neighborhood hang out.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Oooo... hey! A neat little project I helped out with a while back at work has just gone live. VIDICULE. It's on the front page of YouTube, in the masthead. A three question trivia game to promote the cartoons on YouTube.

[Sarah: No one knows what a masthead is.

Sarah was reading over my shoulder as I typed, and said the above. So I typed it in. "What?! Is this a liveblog now? Do I just fucking stand here and say things? No more! Stop it!"]

It's only up for 24 hours and then it'll be gone. Possibly forever. Play it while you can. If it gets some buzz around it, maybe there will be more. Who can say?

UPDATE: And... it's gone. Like I said, it would only be up for 24 hours. I'll let you know if and when VIDICULE appears again.

In the meantime, you can watch this random video review of the game by what appears to be a 12 year old in sunglasses, here.

Monday, September 28, 2009

This bench on a nearby CTA platform seems to have a lot of hit points.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Brief Guide to Video Games For Couples To Play Together Pt. 2

Rock Band: Fun. But it makes a real mess of your living room.

Trauma Center: New Blood: A great, over-the-top surgery game for the Wii. Early in our relationship we loved playing the first Trauma Center game and taking turns operating. We were excited that the sequel had co-op. We could operate together! But if you bicker during a LEGO game you will definitely bicker during a surgery game. "Great. He's dead. You need to inject him with the blue serum not the green serum."

Pixeljunk Monsters: I asked Sarah to write a quick review of this game since she loved it so much. Here's the Gchat conversation we had.

Sarah: PixelJunk Monsters: Super fun, but more fun when played alone.
Me: Really?
Sarah: technically...yes. I like playing it better alone. just because then I get to do everything.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Everyone was surprised when Padraic walked into the greenroom before the Whirled News show without his beard.

Me: Well hello there face.
Padraic: This is the first time I shaved the beard since... 2005, I think.

He shaved it for a commercial audition. Padraic was auditioning to be a John Hodgman look-alike. I never noticed before, but Padraic does look quite a bit like Hodgman.

Padraic: It was weird sitting in the audition waiting room, watching six versions of myself walk in.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Young's birthday party.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sarah's been drinking coconut water as part of her getting-healthy regiment.

Sarah: I think it tastes like the liquid that makes those rainbow dot candies that are attached to strips of white paper... and BO.
Me: Yuck.
Sarah: Yes, yuck.
Sarah: I bet this is what its like to be on Survivor.

Which gave me the idea that we should drink coconut water while watching Survivor. Make it a challenge.

The stuff does taste weird. Sort of like the mystery flavor of Dum Dums as a drink.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Allard brought his tiny little dog into work today.

Poland, who telecommutes from Michigan every day via this TV, recently bought a dog for his family.

Today, both of them tried to force their dogs to have a teleconference. (You can just barely see Grover, Poland's dog, in the bottom right corner of the screen)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

After work went to dinner and a movie with Tom.

Tom: You know, this is the first movie I've seen in a theater since we saw 'I Love You, Man.'

Monday, September 21, 2009

There's a bunch of pencil-scrawled grafitti on the garage doors across the back-alleyway from mine. I'm guessing it was done by the terrible children who live next door and often hang out in that alley.

There are also various random profanities, badly drawn monkeys and "Suck your mommas ASS brandy."

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sarah: I had dreams the last two nights that we had broken up and I ran into you at a party and you were with someone else.
Me: Uh oh.
Sarah: It was really sad. And not just one night. Two nights.
Me: Who was I with?
Sarah: Some stranger. No one I know.
Me: That was at least thoughtful of me. Not going out with someone you know.
Sarah: I kept trying to get you alone and trying to convince you that we should get back together.
Me: What did you say?
Sarah: What do you mean?
Me: What did you say to convince me that we should get back together?
Sarah: I don’t know, just that I was still in love with you.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The fancy spread after the Whirled News sixth anniversary show. For the after-after-party we went to the Korean Karaoke rooms up north and sang until about 3 in the morning. (Aside: I am a terrible terrible singer)

Forgive me for explaining the premise of the show for the hundredth time, but here goes. Audience members cut articles out of the week's newspapers and put them up on a board. During the first act of the show we randomly pick articles and improvise scenes inspired by those articles. For example, an article about the recent discovery that the Tyrannosaurus Rex evolved from an originally eight foot tall dinosaur, inspired a scene where Alex, Padraic and I played dinosaurs that were outraged that their children were being taught evolution in school.

For the second act, we had a special guest, an editor for the Chicago Sun-Times, who told funny stories about the newspaper business but also talked about the grim state of the industry in general and the Sun-Times in particular (in case you haven't been following it, the Sun-Times is in very real danger of closing up shop).

Editor: [monologizing during the show] I've been with the paper for 19 years. 20 in December, if we make it that long.

Closing out the show, Shane gave a nice little speech, thanking our director, Chin, and our tech guy, Brady, and yelling that we plan to be around "for another six years! There's no getting rid of us!"

Me: I've been wondering... assuming we're still around, what happens to this show when there are no more newspapers?
Shane: I think you just blew my mind.

Friday, September 18, 2009

I have several friends who work on the Big Ten Network show Friday Night Tailgate (check your local listings!). Mike and Jordan (pictured) called me up last night and asked if I'd be interested in doing a bit during the show with them tonight, playing a disgruntled cameraman.

Be on TV? Yes, please.

Me: You know, I should always appear on TV right after getting a new haircut. It's the only way I can get an accurate look at myself.
Jordan: That's the reason I'm on this show in the first place. So I can finally see what I really look like.

Mom: [via text] We just watched and thought you did good. Nice hair cut too.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Semi-annual Mustache Day at work. Mustache Day is an exhibition and not a competition, but everyone agreed I had a a pretty good 'stache.

When I got home I gave Sarah a kiss and she said it made her feel like she was cheating on me with a janitor.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My improv group, Whirled News Tonight, is six years old now. Here's one of our first promotional pictures from close to the beginning. If you need proof (beyond us all looking younger), Haskins is reading an Entertainment Weekly promoting 'Master & Commander: The Far Side of the World.'

Over the years, we've had two or three additions and two or three people move on to other things, but the majority of the cast has remained the same.

Our six year anniversary show is this Saturday night at iO.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sarah was worried her breath was garlicy so she submitted me to the breath test, breathing repeatedly on my nose.

Sarah: Huuuuuhhh!
Me: I think it's fine. Do it again.
Sarah: Huuuuuuuuuuuhhh!
Me: I can't tell.
Sarah: Huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuhhh!
Me: I think... do it again...
Sarah: Huuuuuuuuuhh!
Me: I don't think I smell anything, but I'm not sure.
Sarah: Huuuuuuuh!
Me: Well....
Sarah: Huuuuuuuuuuuhhh!
Me: [long pause] One more time.
Sarah: Huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuhhh!
Me: Hmmm...
Sarah: You're just seeing how many times you can get me to do this.
Me: Yeah. You're fine. Your breath smells fine.

Monday, September 14, 2009

There's some serious gray going on in my beard. The hairs on my chinny-chin-chin.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

At the last minute we lucked into some free tickets to see U2 play at Soldier Field (while the Bears had their tragic season opener out of town). We went with one of Sarah's uncles who had the tickets.

Sarah: It's neat that when we woke up this morning, we didn't know we were coming to this show.
Sarah's Uncle: I think this is the first rock show I ever went to in a minivan.

I'd never been to a show this big before and we had great seats, right near the front of the second section. I'm not an avid U2 fan, but the spectacle of it all was amazing, and by the second half of the show, the songs I recognize started kicking in.

Sarah's Uncle actually disappeared during a run of great songs. He had run off to get beers, and got drawn into watching the Bears game on the mounted TVs.

Sarah's Uncle: It was first and goal for the Bears when I heard 'One' start, and I thought, "Well, I can miss 'One' I guess." Then it was fourth and goal but 'Where the Streets Have No Name' started and I was like, "Okay, okay, I gotta get back for 'Where the Streets Have No Name'."

Saturday, September 12, 2009

For all you artists out there looking for subjects, I humbly submit Still Life On Windowsill Next To Bed.

Don't forget to send me digital copies of your paintings. Thank you artists.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Speaking of back-to-school, my sister sent me this picture from Ohio of my nephews heading off for their first day of class.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A conversation with friends talking about their kids.

Hansen: All the drama gets tough. When my daughter starts throwing a tantrum about something dumb, I'll say, "Hey, relax, I'll yell and scream for you. Watch some cartoons, I'll throw the fit." Then I'll pretend to yell like she does. "I want a cookie! I want a cookie!" She gets a kick out of it. It works.

Hansen seems to get a kick out what can only be described as slightly quirky parenting games. For example, whenever he gives his daughter a pen or pencil he calls it a "steek." "Here's your steek." Just so she'll be hardwired to always think of them as steeks.

Hansen: Oh, this is good too, when she's upset about something, instead of screaming about it, I taught her to shake her fists in the air and say, "Rage." It's pretty funny. [shaking his fists in the air] "Rage." We actually got a note home from school because she did it to the teacher.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Uh oh, mice.

I put these poison pellets out months ago when Sarah thought she might have seen a mouse. They haven't been touched since. But this week, suddenly, something's been gobbling that shit up like crazy.

So, we have mice.

Exterminators came in and placed even more powerful poisons under various appliances and dressers. "As they die, the mice will seek out a water source, so that usually means they'll go outside and die out of your apartment."

That seems like wishful thinking to me, but we'll see. And by we'll see, I mean, probably we'll see lots of dead mice under our refrigerator.

Sarah: I'm nervous to have my glass of water next to the bed. I'm worried I'll wake up and find a mouse drinking out of it.
Me: "Sorry lady. I'm so thirsty. I've really been stuffing myself with poison. Ugh. I know I need to cut down. Sometimes I'm full, I know I don't need anymore but I keep eating it. And I tell myself again and again, this week I'm going to stop eating so much poison, but then it's always next week and then next week, you know?"

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A potluck banquet/award ceremony at ComedySportz, where Sarah performs.

Hanging out backstage afterward, Natalie took this picture of us. Then she handed the camera over, as people do, so we could see ourselves.

Looking at the giant mess of hair I've become, I sighed, "Oh man, I've got to do something about everything."

Monday, September 7, 2009

A Brief Guide to Video Games For Couples To Play Together Pt. 1 (in random order)

Halo/Gears of War/Resistance: I find first person shooters pretty boring to play by myself, but shooting aliens with your better half can be great. Sarah actually seems more into them than me. Sure, the stories are terrible, but you can run around, work together, and make jokes. The best part is, if one of you dies, the other can bring them back to life, which is a nice thing for a couple to do.

LEGO Star Wars/LEGO Indiana Jones: You'd think these would be the best couples games ever. Cute, light and fun. Something for everyone. But be warned: You will fight with each other while playing this game. Chewbacca wants to jump to a platform on the left; Boba Fett runs to the right to collect some coins. The game's camera can only pull back so far. Both of you get stuck (or Chewbacca falls into lava)

Chewbacca: Come to the left for a second.
Boba: I'm getting these coins.
Chewbacca: Come to the left! I'm trapped in the lava! Come! To! The! Left!

Left 4 Dead: The best! Fight zombies together. The game is actually designed to encourage team work. It's the central game concept. Hole up in an abandoned house together and try to survive until help arrives. "If I don't make it, remember I love you!"

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Coming home from brunch, Sarah caught a look at herself in a mirror.

Sarah: Aw man! Was my sweater like this the whole time?
Me: ... probably?


Sarah: You realize you're pretty much just posting a picture of my boobs.]

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Sarah and I went to a Northwestern football game. She got tickets from her boss.

Northwestern trounced the other team, leading by so much the entire game that I suspect it was boring for even the most diehard fans.

At halftime, though, several local high school and junior high teams got to use the field for brief scrimmages. Four, maybe five games, going on at the same time, back to back, using small chunks of the field. The teams on each far side had it the best, though, getting to run toward an actual end zone, and each time a little player got a touchdown, the whole stadium cheered.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Last weekend I went to a 'Back To School' themed party. They even had a green screen set up to do school pictures. Here's mine. With lasers!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I bought my car in Arizona, long ago, during a different time (living with someone else). Like most cars bought in Arizona, it has tinted windows. Deeply, seriously, ominously tinted.

Tinted windows are technically illegal in Chicago, but over years of driving around and parking outside, I've gotten maybe two tickets for it. So, I've been too lazy to do anything about it.

Last night, heading back from the movie, Sarah and I were driving through a borderline borderline shady part of town when a cop pulled me over.

Me: I wonder what this is about? I didn't roll through that stop sign did I?
Sarah: No. It's probably your windows.
Me: I've never been actually pulled over for that.
Sarah: Maybe you're being racially profiled.

The cop did seem a little confused by me. Eventually he came back with my license and told me I could go. "You should get that fixed. I hear the court fees these days for tinted windows is up to $250. And with Obama now, you can't afford that, huh?" Then he walked off.

Sarah: What did he say?
Me: Something about how I can't afford to pay $250 because of Obama.
Sarah: Wait... what? What does that even mean?
Me: I don't know. But I think I might have been racially profiled in both directions.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Tonight we saw a free advanced screening of 'World's Greatest Dad.' We've gone to a lot of screenings over the last year. And as grateful as I am for them and as much as I love going, I'm starting to get a little burnt out. I find myself enjoying less of them, enjoying movies less. I almost didn't go tonight, even though I'd heard good things about the movie.

Sarah wanted to go, though, so we did, and it was great. Funny and very dark.

Afterward there was a Q&A with the director, Bobcat Golthwait. The mics weren't working but it was the best Q&A I've seen in a while. "I can just project. Luckily I spent some time as a screaming comic in the 80s."

The host for the evening pointed out that Tim Kazurinsky was sitting in the front row. I've probably had about a half dozen Kazurinsky sightings in the handful of years I've lived in Chicago. He tops my list of repeat celebrity sightings.

Host: I just had to point it out. It's like a mini-Police Academy reunion.
Golthwait: Yep. And... Micheal Winslow is here too!
[everyone laughs]
Kazurinsky: He actually was here last week.
Golthwait: Really?
Kazurinsky: Yeah. We had lunch together.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A conversation Sarah and I had recently over Gchat.

Sarah: I'm bored.
Me: Then you should write an entry for my blog.
Sarah: huh?
Me: Just write an entry for my blog. Write one for me.
Sarah: no, that \
Sarah: that's your blog!
Sarah: plus I don't have a picture to write about/be inspired by.
Me: Take one.
Sarah: I would write that you are dumb.
Me: So be it.
Sarah: And that I am an awesome girlfriend.
Sarah: And that the robots are coming.
Sarah: Maybe I would recount all the bad things that have happened in our relationship since the blog started, that you have not mentioned.
Me: That would be interesting.
Sarah: The things that would actually be interesting to a reader, but that we don't have the balls to air in public, and that's the reason there are so many pictures about plants.